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Tony Gonzalez: Matt Ryan not an elite quarterback yet


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(2/6/2014) Retired Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez told ESPN The Magazine that quarterback Matt Ryan is not an elite quarterback. "Matt's an excellent quarterback," Gonzalez said, "But he's not elite. He's this close. He'll get there, but he has some learning to do."

Ryan is coming off a down year in which he threw 26 touchdown passes and committed 21 turnovers. He'll benefit from a healthy Julio Jones in 2014.


Matt Ryan compiles colossal home-road split


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12/30/2013) Most quarterbacks play better at home, but the Falcons' Matt Ryan produced a massive home-road split this season. In the Georgia Dome, Ryan completed 73 percent of his throws for 2,341 yards and 13 touchdowns against three interceptions. 

On the road, Ryan hit 62 percent of his throws for 2,174 yards and 13 touchdowns -- against 14 interceptions. Ryan had a 102.6 passer rating at home, 77.0 on the road.

Ryan's overall numbers should improve next season, assuming No. 1 receiver Julio Jones returns healthy.


Matt Ryan ends season with another loss


by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/29/2013) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had a season to forget in 2013, and he ended the year with another loss against the Panthers at home. 

Ryan played well with 28 of 40 passing for 280 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. It gave him back-to-back games with at least 280 passing yards and two touchdowns for the first time since Week 7.

The Falcons will come back in 2014 with the chance to be more competitive after this 4-12 campaign. Ryan will lose Tony Gonzalez to retirement, but he will get Julio Jones (foot) back at 100 percent.

It should be a bounce-back season for Ryan in 2014, but this 2013 year was disappointing for Atlanta, which came into the year with Super Bowl aspirations.


Is this another good week for Matt Ryan?


by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/26/2013) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan heads into the season finale against the Panthers hoping to play well for the second week in a row after a strong outing at San Francisco in Week 16. We're not confident he can do it again, however.

Ryan reminded us all how good he can be with his performance against the 49ers. He had 348 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions (one was tipped for the pick-six and the other was on a Hail Mary). But that was the first time we’ve seen that quarterback since Julio Jones went down.

It’s nice to have Roddy White back at 100 percent, and Tony Gonzalez is playing (potentially) his final game. But the Panthers also have a lot at stake with the playoffs and limited Ryan to eight Fantasy points in Week 9.

Only one quarterback – Drew Brees at home – scored more than 19 Fantasy points against Carolina, and Ryan should struggle this week. We would only start him in two-quarterback leagues in this final scoring period.


Matt Ryan throws for 348 yards but makes critical mistake


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12/24/2013) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan nearly led his undermanned team to a big upset Monday night, hitting 37 of 48 throws for 348 yards and two touchdowns. But he took an unnecessary risk that led to San Francisco's clinching touchdown.

With just over a minute left and Atlanta in position to tie with a field goal, Ryan threw to a covered Harry Douglas and the ball got knocked up in the air. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman caught the ricochet and returned it 89 yards for a touchdown. Ryan's Hail Mary on the final play also was intercepted.

Ryan targeted Roddy White 15 times and they connected 12 times for 141 yards. Ryan led White perfectly on a 39-yard touchdown. He also found tight end Tony Gonzalez for a 2-yard score.

Having accounted for 24 touchdowns and 20 turnovers, Ryan plays Carolina in the season finale.


Matt Ryan will be under siege Week 16


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2013) Heading into a brutal Week 16 matchup at San Francisco, it would be nice if Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had some momentum. He doesn't. Ryan has produced six touchdowns and seven turnovers over the last five games, losing a fumble three straight weeks.

Ryan will be under siege at Candlestick Park, his offensive line unable to protect him. The 49ers give up the 3rd-fewest Fantasy points (13.6 per game) to opposing quarterbacks. QBs have accounted for 16 touchdowns and 16 turnovers against San Fran, which allows 219 passing yards per game.

Ryan failed to capitalize on a cake matchup Week 15 at home vs. Washington. He did not complete any passes for 20-plus yards, averaging 5.5 yards per attempt. Liable to get roughed up by the 49ers, Ryan is a low-end QB2 on Monday night.


Just one touchdown pass for Matt Ryan


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/15/2013) Coming off a two-touchdown effort at Green Bay last week, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan looked like he was poised for a big game against the reeling Redskins in Week 15. Instead, he barely kept his team ahead with a performance not too unlike most of the others he's had since star wide receiver Julio Jones was lost for the season in Week 5, completing 29 of 38 passes for 210 yards and one touchdown.

The touchdown was a 13-yard toss to tight end Tony Gonzalez in the first quarter. It was Ryan's only real highlight on a day when he had no passes of more than 19 yards. He did have a couple lowlights, though, losing a fumble immediately after the Falcons had recovered a fumble early in the second quarter and throwing an interception from deep in Redskins territory with less than a minute to go in the first half.

Ryan has thrown for multiple scores in just two of his last seven games. He doesn't have the best matchup to reverse that trend Week 16 at San Francisco.


Another couple scores likely for Matt Ryan


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/11/2013) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who threw for multiple scores for just the second time in seven games in a favorable matchup last week, could be in for an even bigger performance Week 15 against Washington.

With questions about their head coach and starting quarterback, the Redskins are in disarray, coming off a 45-10 shellacking against the Chiefs in which they appeared disinterested. And just in terms of statistics, they've had a hard time stopping the pass, giving up the sixth-most yards of any team. They've allowed the second-highest quarterback rating and the sixth-most Fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Granted, the Chiefs' Alex Smith wasn't particularly productive against him last week, but that's because their defense and special teams ensured he didn't have to be. The Falcons have no choice but to lean on Ryan.

Ryan has been an iffy start in Fantasy since star wide receiver Julio Jones went down, but this week, he's borderline advisable. Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard and Nathan Zegura all have him in their top 12 quarterbacks for this week, with Dave ranking him as high as eighth.


Two early scores carry Matt Ryan


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/8/2013) Playing in the snow, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan got off to a quick start Week 14 at Green Bay, throwing touchdown passes on two of the team's first three drives. He connected with wide receiver Drew Davis on a 36-yard catch-and-run for the first score and took advantage of a short field following a Matt Flynn fumble by hooking up with tight end Tony Gonzalez on a 2-yard toss just a few minutes later.

Unfortunately, he wouldn't throw another touchdown pass on a day in which the Falcons blew a 21-10 halftime lead. In fact, he committed a couple of critical mistakes, losing a fumble to set up the Packers for the go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter and throwing an interception while trying to position the Falcons for a field goal on the team's final drive. Granted, the interception probably wouldn't have happened if wide receiver Harry Douglas hadn't dropped a long pass one play before, but the turnover sealed the team's fate.

In all, Ryan completed 20 of 35 passes for 206 yards. It was the first time in three games that he contributed multiple touchdowns. He'll look to repeat the feat Week 15 against the Redskins.


Matt Ryan ready to roll again?


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/4/2013) After struggling with a second-team receiving corps over the last few weeks, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan got a big lift in Week 13 when wide receiver Roddy White, slowed by ankle and hamstring injuries all year, finally began performing at an All-Pro level, catching 10 passes for 143 yards.

It came at the perfect time, too. In Week 14, the Falcons visit the Packers, a team that just gave up 561 total yards to the Lions in Week 13. The Packers have had their struggles against the pass this year, giving up the 11th-most yards through the air along with 22 touchdowns to just six interceptions. They've allowed the 10th-most Fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Of course, their pass rush could give Ryan problems. They're tied for third with 38 sacks. Then again, Ryan managed to throw for 311 yards even while getting sacked six times against the Bills.

The Falcons have struggled to put up points since wide receiver Julio Jones went down with a foot injury, making Ryan a not-so-attractive option in recent weeks, but with White's turnaround and the favorable matchup, he's worth considering again in a situation where you don't have an obvious starter at quarterback.


Matt Ryan average against Buffalo Week 13


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/1/2013) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had an average game against the Bills Week 13.

Ryan completed 28 of 47 passes for 311 and a touchdown. Ryan was held in check due to the team’s strong running game. The Falcons came into the game with the second-lowest rushing yards in the league, but managed to run for 151 yards against Buffalo. Ryan was fortunate to get his only touchdown. After nearly throwing one to Harry Douglas, the refs overturned the call, giving the Falcons the ball on the one yard line. Steven Jackson failed to get in the end zone, and then a penalty pushed the team further back. He managed to find Tony Gonzalez from 11 yards out on third down.

Ryan will look for more Week 14 against the Packers.


Matt Ryan looking at favorable matchup Week 13


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(11/27/2013) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has a favorable matchup Week 13 against the Bills.

Buffalo hasn't performed well against opposing quarterbacks, allowing them to average 19.09 Fantasy points per game. Through 11 games, the team has allowed 22 passing touchdowns, which is tied for the third-highest in the league. The team's pass defense has been better as of late. After allowing 11 passing touchdowns from Week 6 through Week 8, the team has allowed just two passing touchdowns Week 9 through Week 11. At the same time, the team played Alex Smith, Ben Roethlisberger and Geno Smith/Matt Simms over the latter stretch, so it's hard to know if the team got better or the opponents were worse.

Ryan has also been in somewhat of a funk as of late. After tossing three touchdowns in his first game without Julio Jones, Ryan has thrown five touchdowns in his last five games. Though Roddy White has been back the past three games, he's failed to exceed 36 yards. That has left Tony Gonzalez, who gets double-teamed each game, and Harry Douglas as Ryan's primary weapons. Douglas has had some nice games with Ryan, but it's clear the lack of talent has played in big role in Ryan's worsening upside. The pieces are there for Ryan to have a nice game, but it's unclear he has the weapons to take advantage of a weak Buffalo secondary. 


Matt Ryan held off the scoreboard in loss


by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11/21/2013) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan nearly passed for 300 yards Thursday against the Saints, but finished the 17-13 loss without a touchdown pass in Week 12.

Ryan nearly had a touchdown pass to cap off the team's first drive, as he found Darius Johnson for what appeared to be a 6-yard score. Unfortunately, the touchdown was called back by the replay assist, who ruled Johnson did not break the plane of the end zone.

Ryan was ultimately held out of the end zone for the first time all season, despite completing 30 of 39 passes for 292 yards, his best total in four games. Ryan did manage to avoid an interception in the game, just the second time he has gone without a pick in the last five games.

Ryan's season has come derailed since the season-ending injury to Julio Jones, as he heads into Week 13 against the Bills with multiple touchdowns in just one of his last five games. He has 3,160 yards passing with 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions on the season. 


Matt Ryan has tough Week 12 matchup


by Nando Di Fino | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11/20/2013) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has thrown multiple touchdowns in just one game over his last four. He's been intercepted nine times in that span, and hasn't scored 20 Fantasy points in a standard league since Week 7.

This Thursday, Ryan faces off against the Saints, who have allowed the third-fewest Fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. While Ryan managed 23 points against New Orleans in Week 1, that was with Julio Jones playing. Week 12 has Ryan leading a team without Jones, while Tony Gonzalez battles a toe injury and Roddy White returns from hamstring and ankle issues. Yes, Saints defensive back Jabari Greer is now out for the season, but that may not be enough to get Ryan back to the 20-point plateau. 

Ryan should improve as White gets healthier and Steven Jackson rounds into form. But for a Week 12 Thursday night game against a tough Saints defense, he can be benched in favor of better options. 


Dominique Davis shakes off knee injury


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11/20/2013) Falcons backup quarterback Dominique Davis said he's ready to play Week 12 vs. New Orleans after hurting his knee Week 11 at Tampa Bay, according to ESPN.

Dominique Davis doesn't last long in relief duty


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11/17/2013) Not wanting the jeopardize starter Matt Ryan's health late in a blowout loss Week 11 at Tampa Bay, the Falcons turned to backup quarterback Dominique Davis for the first time this season, and he did fairly well, completing 5 of 7 passes for 34 yards.

Unfortunately, he had to leave after twisting his knee on a roughing the passer penalty, forcing Ryan to finish out the game. After the game, Davis told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he was fine.


Matt Ryan has decent numbers in miserable game


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11/17/2013) Though he wasn't particularly efficient about it, connecting on 19 of 36 passes for a season-worst 52.8 completion percentage, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 254 yards, his most in three games, Week 11 at the Buccaneers. He also threw two touchdown passes for the first time in four games.

Still, it was a far cry from his Week 7 performance against these same Buccaneers, when he completed 20 of 26 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns, giving him a career-best 148.4 quarterback rating. In this one, he mostly benefited from an 80-yard catch-and-run by wide receiver Harry Douglas in the third quarter and still threw two interceptions, giving him nine in his last four games.

Not wanting him to get hurt in what was shaping up to be a blowout loss, the Falcons pulled Ryan for a couple series in the fourth quarter, but he ended up having to return after backup Dominique Davis hurt his knee on roughing the passer penalty. Ryan is expected to be back under center for another division matchup Week 12 against the Saints.


Matt Ryan looking to bounce back


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11/12/2013) Coming off a disastrous three-game stretch in which he threw seven interceptions to only three touchdown passes, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has a golden opportunity to get his season back on track on the road in Week 11. That's because he's facing the Buccaneers, who he smoked for 273 yards and three touchdown at home in Week 7 in what may have been his best performance this season.

Strangely enough, that was his first game without injured wide receiver Julio Jones, whose absence has gotten most of the blame for Ryan's collapse. Ryan was also without wide receiver Roddy White then. White returned last week but struggled against the mighty Seahawks secondary, catching one pass for 20 yards.

The Buccaneers rank in the middle of the pack against the pass, allowing 237.2 yards per game, but they've given up the eighth-most Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. The Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns against them last week.

Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard have lost all faith in Ryan with his performance the last three weeks, ranking him outside the top 12 at quarterback even with this matchup, but I'm more inclined to agree with Nathan Zegura, who ranks him 10th. One game against the Seahawks isn't the fairest way to assess how he'll perform with White back in the lineup.


Matt Ryan takes cautious approach to Seahawks


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11/10/2013) The good news is that after throwing a combined seven interceptions in his previous two games, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan didn't commit a single turnover Week 10 against the Seahawks. The bad news is he may have been a little too cautious against the defense that entered the game ranked second against the pass.

Even with wide receiver Roddy White back from injury, Ryan didn't make much of an effort to stretch the field, relying heavily on bubble screens and short, underneath routes. He completed 23 of 36 passes, but for only 172 yards, his lowest single-game total of the season. He completed a 20-yard strike to White midway through the first quarter and tried to find him in the end zone on a 19-yard lob late in the third, but otherwise, he relied on his receivers to pick up yards after the catch. And for the most part, they didn't.

For as careful as he was, Ryan still probably should have been intercepted on a drive midway through the first quarter, but the defender bobbled the ball. The matchup didn't help, but it's clear he's struggling to find himself on an injury-depleted offense. He'll try to get back on track Week 11 against the Buccaneers, the team that allowed three touchdown passes to him in Week 7.


Matchup not in Matt Ryan's favor


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11/5/2013) Coming off arguably the worst two-game stretch of his career -- one in which he threw a combined seven interceptions -- Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan would like nothing more than to protect the football Week 10 against Seattle. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done against the Seahawks defense.

"Seattle has got a very good defense," Falcons coach Mike Smith told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "They have two good defensive backs ... tied for the league lead in interceptions with four, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman. They have some guys that can rush the passer up front. It will be a challenge for our offensive line."

As a team, the Seahawks have 13 interceptions, tying the Broncos for the NFL lead. They didn't have any last week against the Buccaneers but had two in each of their previous three games. Overall, they rank second against the pass, allowing 179.8 yards per game, and have given up the second-fewest Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season.

If the Falcons fall behind, Ryan is still capable of putting up some numbers in an offense geared to pass, but as much as he has struggled the last two weeks, this isn't the matchup to give him the benefit of the doubt.


Interceptions doom Matt Ryan again


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11/3/2013) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who acknowledged the importance of limiting his mistakes after throwing four interceptions in Week 8, did just the opposite Week 9 at Carolina. Facing a defense that has thrived against the pass all season, he threw three more interceptions, giving him at least three in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.

All three interceptions were legitimate mistakes, too. The second one hit wide receiver Harry Douglas' hand first, but he appeared to be batting the off-target throw away from another defender. Two of the interceptions came in the second half, when Ryan completed 9 of 12 passes for only 80 yards.

In all, he completed 20 of 27 for 219 yards, with his lone touchdown coming on a 17-yard strike to Tony Gonzalez in the second quarter. The Falcons trailed only 14-10 at halftime but, thanks in part to Ryan's struggles, would not score the rest of the way.

"I know Matt. He's going to look at this film. He's going to obsess over it," Gonzalez said. "I have no doubt he's going to bounce back."

Though he'll be returning home in Week 10, Ryan will have an equally difficult matchup against the Seahawks.


Matt Ryan 'trying to eliminate' bad games


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10/31/2013) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan seems very eager to get back onto the field Week 9 at Carolina after throwing four interceptions in a 27-13 loss Week 8 at Arizona.

"I’ve played bad before and I’ll play bad again, but it’s trying to eliminate those games and try to make them very few and very far in between," Ryan said, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "That’s my goal now, is to put that one behind us and get back to playing the way I can play."

Ryan was sacked four times and hit 11 times Week 8. The constant defensive pressure contributed to Ryan's poor performance.

"Pressure is the toughest thing on any quarterback," Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said. "It usually doesn’t show up. When I mean pressure, I don’t mean the pressure of a blitz. But the pressure of being behind. There’s the pressure of being hit early in the game. Just the building up of pressure and he didn’t play as well of a game."


Tough matchup for Matt Ryan rebound


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2013) Whether you blame the pass protection, as coach Mike Smith has, or the injuries to wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White, as most Fantasy owners have, the general consensus is that Matt Ryan's four interceptions last week at Arizona were more a reflection on the Falcons' circumstances this year than the quarterback himself. But either way, Ryan is going to have a tough time bouncing back Week 9 at Carolina.

Historically, he has fared well against the division opponent. In two meetings with the Panthers last season, he threw for five touchdowns, averaging 355.5 yards per game. But these Panthers are different from those in that they rank ninth against the pass, allowing 222.1 yards per game, and have recorded more interceptions (nine) than they've allowed touchdown passes (six). They're tied with the Seahawks in allowing the fewest Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.

With a different matchup, you might trust Ryan to bounce back with similar numbers to the ones he had in Weeks 1-8, but with this one, you might want to play it safe with him, particularly if you have productive alternatives. Of the three CBSSports.com Fantasy Football analysts, only Jamey Eisenberg ranks Ryan in his top 15 for this week.


Matt Ryan has disastrous start against Cardinals


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/27/2013) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had a rough game against the Cardinals Week 8.

Ryan completed 34 of 61 passes for 301 yards. He tossed one touchdown to four interceptions. With both Julio Jones and Roddy White out, Ryan struggled to find open pass catchers. Like most teams, the Cardinals chose to double-team Tony Gonzalez. That left Harry Douglas as Ryan's only threat in the passing game. Ryan nearly went scoreless, but was able to toss his four-yard touchdown during garbage time. It's the first time this season Ryan has tossed fewer than two touchdowns. 

Ryan will look to get back on track against the Panthers Week 9.


Matt Ryan looking for another strong game


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/24/2013) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is looking for his second strong game without wide receiver Julio Jones.

Ryan will take on the Cardinals, who have been slightly below-average against opposing quarterbacks. They've allowed 19.29 points per game to quarterbacks, which ranks 18th. Arizona hasn't been able to hold teams out of the end zone, giving up 23 points per game. Carson Palmer hasn't helped the situation by giving the opposing offense good field position after turnovers.

Ryan has been pretty solid all season despite not having a full offensive roster. Roddy White has been limited by various injuries for much of the year, and Jones is now expected to be out for the rest of the season. Despite that, Ryan was able to exploit the Buccaneers for three touchdowns. Ryan has thrown at least two touchdowns per game despite the health of his skill players. He continues to be a strong start until he shows otherwise.